For as long as I can remember, videogames have tried to make sports more interesting, more fun, and most importantly, more engaging. Omega Strikers belongs to this bracket of titles, as its futuristic reimagining of soccer combines sports fundamentals and MOBA mechanics to provide something that somehow feels familiar and brand new simultaneously.
For context, Omega Strikers is the first game from Odyssey Interactive, a studio made up of ex-Riot developers looking to make something a bit different. It’s a free-to-play live service game, available on mobile and console, with a heavy emphasis towards competitive matches and character collection and customisation.
The gameplay of Omega Strikers is simple enough to grasp, simpler even still if you like to play games like Mario Strikers. Two teams of three battle it out in a game of first-to-five goals, with each character’s special abilities able to help out the team. You start with three playable characters, Juliette, Kai, and Dubu, with a wider roster of a further 12 to unlock on launch.
Much like Mario Strikers, Omega Strikers abides by what we in the U.K. call “prison rules”, in that if you’d rather spend the match battering your opponents instead of the ball (known as the core in this instance and looking more like a Roomba than a ball), you can feel free. This adds an extra layer of chaos to the ball game, with the ability to stun your opponent before they can take their shot quickly turning the tables in any closely fought match.
While the Mario Strikers comparison is obvious, I should say that this game isn’t a sneaky reskin or pale imitation. There are apparent differences from the off. First of all, Omega Strikers is a little less frenetic. Character movement feels like the happy place between the pace of sports titles and the methodical control of MOBA games, with play just at the right tempo to properly control your moves.
Where Omega Strikers goes slightly further than Mario’s foray into football and other equivalent titles is in these character moves. Each character has a basic move to strike the ball, three alternatives that can also affect other players and a special boost move that means only they can strike the core. It takes a little while to adjust to all these options, but a quick tutorial on your first go helps settle any pre-game nerves before you head out to take on opponents online.
My highlight in this one is the characters. With so many studios relying on lending heavyweight IPs to make its concept more palatable, Odyssey Interactive’s decision to create a roster of original ballers is brave, but the studio pulls it off. From Juno, the girl made of boba tea, to Dubu the oversized hamster, the roster is full of designs that make you smile without even having to step out onto the pitch. It’s not all cutesy, though, with badass Kai and his flailing overcoat giving off some major goth boy vibes.
Still, with the characters playing such a part in sucking me into the world of Omega Strikers, it’s a slight shame that the opening cutscene, as incredible as it is, sets up a storyline you end up feeling slightly disconnected from. Like many live service free-to-play games, there isn’t anything in the way of solo content here or a story mode to take on, it’s just play ball, play ball, and play ball again. How you might feel about that depends on what type of gamer you are, but I might enjoy a bit more variety.
Unfortunately, in terms of UI and in-game currencies, Omega Strikers stumbles with the same issues as something like Pokemon Unite. For one, there are three different currencies from the off; striker credits, style points, and ody points. You pick up striker credits and style points as you play, which you can use to buy new characters and costumes, or you can cough up your cash for ody points to do the same thing. In Omega Striker’s defence, it doesn’t feel like there’s a pay-to-win element here, unlike Unite, but it still gets a bit confusing with all the currencies.
The UI, for me, is a bit bland compared to the vivid nature of the rest of the game. It makes things easily understandable but also highlights the current limitations of Omega Striker’s single game mode. Considering the rigid format of the first-to-five games, it would be nice to have an alternative game mode, just to keep me engaged after a couple of back-to-back losses. When you think of the possibilities for exciting narratives with this colourful roster of characters, or even just a bit of banter between games, it is a bit disappointing we don’t get more from them.
As Omega Strikers is available on both Switch and mobile, and we’re a Switch and mobile site, I gave it a whirl on both devices. What I can say with confidence is that this game feels much better with a controller, be it the Backbone I used when playing on mobile or the Switch Joy-Cons. Movement especially benefits from some kind of analogue stick, with touchscreen controls feeling stiff and rigid compared. Strangely enough, the graphics look a bit better on mobile, too – I was playing on iPhone 13 – while the Switch version has the occasional moment where the lucid colour gets a bit blurry amongst the action.
All-in-all, Omega Strikers is something fun for fans of the sports and MOBA genres, combining concepts from both to produce what feels like the funky offspring of League of Legends and Mario Strikers. That, in my book, is not a bad thing. While we might like some more game modes, a bit more emphasis on characters, and less currency confusion, the core premise here is promising, and we’re excited about the future for Nubu, Kai, and the rest of these brilliant ballers.
For more on this exciting title, check out our Omega Strikers interview with the team from Odyssey Interactive. Or, if you’re looking for something a little different, try our Nuclear Blaze Switch review, Honkai Star Rail review, or Donkapon Kingdom Connect review.
In terms of a free-to-play live service game, Omega Strikers is engaging enough to persuade new players and keep them scoring. While we’re hoping for new game modes and ways to explore the exciting roster of characters, things are certainly off to a solid start for Odyssey Interactive’s debut title.